Objective: To develop a natural history model for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection to determine allocation of compensatory funds to Canadians who acquired HCV through the blood supply from 1986 through 1990.
Methods: A Markov cohort simulation model for HCV prognosis was developed, using content experts, published data, posttransfusion look-back data, and a national survey.
Results: The mortality rate in transfusees is high (46% at 10 years), although HCV-related deaths are rare. Only 14% develop cirrhosis at 20 years (95% confidence interval, 0%--44%), but 1 in 4 will eventually develop cirrhosis, and 1 in 8 will die of liver disease.
Conclusions: This unique application of Markov cohort simulation and epidemiologic methods provides a state-of-the-art estimate of HCV prognosis and has allowed compensation decisions to be based on the best available evidence.